Cole Green Way

Welwyn - Hertford

Part of the Lost Rails project

Click to enlarge this route map
© Stephen Wragg 2010
Long passenger train with GNR Class K 0-4-4T locomotive at Cole Green Station, before November 1911.
© LGRP, lent by Mr Eve
A former District Inspector recalls the time he had to venture down to Ashburton Grove
A former train cleaner and fireman describes how rubbish was transported from Asburton Grove to Holwell Hyde
Parts of the 1951 film 'The Lady with the Lamp' starring Anna Neagle was filmed on the line, using local children as extras
In this extract, Rosemary Cooper, who was born in 1940 and lived in Cole Green describes the route of the railway
A description of how some of the goods were transported along the route

The Hertford & Welwyn Junction Railway was one of Hertfordshire’s earliest, intended to join the Welwyn-Luton-Dunstable route and form a cross-county link. But the Great Northern mainline railway would not allow branch lines to cross its tracks at Hatfield or Welwyn, and so the Hertford & Welwyn remained an isolated ten mile track with no passenger ‘through’ trains.

The line was intended to benefit Hertford, but passenger demand was weak since it was still quicker to London on the Great Eastern from Hertford East to Liverpool Street. When the Great Northern’s Hertford Loop was built in the 1920s it cut off the eastern end of the branch line, and sealed its fate by opening a new mainline station at Hertford North. Although passenger traffic carried on until 1951, the line was a backwater, and stations like Hertingfordbury used oil lamps right till the end.

At first goods traffic consisted mainly of coal for households and small businesses, but from about 1935 to 1966 London refuse trains made regular runs to the Holwell Hyde sandpits near Cole Green.

The track was bought by the County Council in 1972 and there is an attractive bridleway, footpath and cycle route through farmland between the River Lea outside Hertford (where the bridge has been dismantled) to the A414. Between the A414 and Welwyn the trackbed has mainly been swallowed by gravel pits, and is no longer recognisable as a railway.




Discover more

Photo gallery of The Cole Green Way

Audio memories

Below you can listen to a selection of clips taken from interviews with people who worked on or lived near the line.

This page was added on 01/03/2011.

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  • Further to my comment of 08/06/2014 I think it should read G1. See -

    By David Turner (04/06/2018)
  • It is difficult to see on the map but there was a spur A little way before Hertingfordbury on the Hertford side that went into Webb’s glove factory at Horns Mill which I believe survived until the whole line was lifted.  The factory has long gone and a housing estate was built on the site although Street names reflect the site’s origins.

    By Tim Shea (09/02/2016)
  • I think you will find the caption”Long passenger train with GNR Class K 0-4-4T locomotive at Cole Green Station, before November 1911.” is actually a  GNR Class G” 0-4-4BT no.531(i.e. not a Class K)

    By David Turner (08/06/2014)
  • When we moved to the eastside of WGC in October 1966 the track of this single line railway line was still there but sometime in the first half of 1967 i recall the track was lifted by British Rail from Attimore halt (opposite Lincoln Electrics factory) eastwards over the Ridgeway and Holwell hyde level crossings and onwards towards Hertford. During the first half of 1967 i distinctly recall seeing the single line railway track at Holwell hyde level crossing (where the old railway house still stands today) cut up and waiting to be taken away by a special train of flat wagons. The old level crossing gates at both the Ridgeway and Holwell hyde level crossings remained for quite a few years well into the 1970s before eventually both sets of level crossing gates were taken away.

    By Michael S (06/02/2013)